For the last few days, a St. Louis man named Ed Domain was sending hundreds of pro-Uber tweets to journalists, policy makers, and anyone else he could rally to the cause. Then, last night, he held an IRL pro-Uber assembly in a modest pizza restaurant. He used the meetup to show off the scar he sustained during a taxi ride that almost killed him. It snakes from under his gym shorts.
As the local press tells it, Domain’s championing of the ride-sharing app is an offshoot off his larger personal crusade against local cab companies. The Riverfront Times reports Domain was a Chicago native and veteran who moved south when he was awarded a grant for startup capital that required his company be based in St. Louis. Then, in May 2013, Domain was horribly mangled in an accident while riding in a Harris Cab.
Here’s how Domain describes his injuries in a long missive about his accident and subsequent battle against the Metropolitan Taxi Commission:
I nearly died. The left side of my pelvis was destroyed. My chest bone was broken. My brachial artery in my right arm was severed (the artery that moves blood from your chest to your arm) and as a result my arm started swelling like a balloon as my artery shot out blood like a garden hose. (I would find out much later the doctors had not wanted to tell me at the time that I almost lost my arm. It was touch and go for days in the hospital as my arm shrank back to its normal size after a stent was put inside my arm).
Because the cab was uninsured, a violation of MTC rules, Domain says he was unable to get any relief from the company for the devastating medical bills, the accompanying major surgeries, or any part of his recovery process. His credit was ruined. He lost his venture capital funding. And he still walks with a limp.
So you can empathize with Domain’s fury when he heard a Harris Cab operator on the radio talking about how the MTC should continue to block Uber in St. Louis until the service started “following the rules.”
Since he heard that quip — so familiar around the rest of the uberized world — Domain has become an Uber zealot, demanding St. Louis get its shit together and move into the 21st century. The Riverfront Times acknowledges that Domain’s fanaticism has led some to question his sanity. But, as local cab companies criticize Uber’s safety record to justify keeping it out of their markets, Domain is making a solid point about Uber’s critics. In order for cab companies to play the role of the virtuous aggrieved, they better follow the damn rules. If they do, they’ve got a point. If they don’t, Uber is at least a more efficient alternative — even if the company can’t heal Domain’s scars.